Mob goes on a rampage in Bommasandra

Mob goes on a rampage in Bommasandra

PF protest: Biocon, Hebbagodi police station targeted; police resort to firing

Mob goes on a rampage in Bommasandra

Violence, stone-pelting, tear gas shelling and police firing marked the second day of the protest by over 25,000 garment workers at Bommasandra over the PF policy. The protest seemed to have been hijacked by unruly elements, mobs and goons not connected with the protest. Biocon, the city’s premier bio-tech company, was also targeted.

At around 9.30 am, large crowds gathered at the Bommasandra junction and moved towards the houses in and around Hebbagodi, shouting slogans. Residents, who were scared, locked themselves up inside. At around 11.30 am, the mobs moved towards Biocon. Mobs carrying weapons and sticks entered the company’s premises and started thrashing the securitymen. They shouted at the staff, around 3,000 of them, and asked them to come out and support them. Then, they started damaging the vehicles inside the campus. Six cars and an ambulance were vandalised. At this juncture, police had to resort to firing to disperse the mob.

A few representatives of the management came outside, spoke to the protesters and calmed them down. The management asked the staff not to go out till evening.

Another mob had gathered near the Hebbagodi police station. Seeing the police sitting inside the station, the mob barged inside and started damaging property. Four jeeps, 20 bikes and four ambulances were burnt down. While some damaged the vehicles around the police station, others damaged property inside. Stones were thrown at around 15 policemen who were inside. One woman police constable was injured. Tear gas shelling did not deter the mob and the police opened fire.

A bullet pierced through the shoulder of Manjunath, 44, a courier company employee. Preethi Ninge Gowda, 19, injured in the leg, was admitted to a nearby hospital.

The police were worried about another possibility. There were 500 gas cylinders stocked just outside the police station. Fearing the worst, the police sought reinforcements from the Karnataka State Reserve Police. They arrived and saw to it that the crowd did not set the cylinders or other property on fire. Together with the local police, they were able to push back the crowds towards the main road and avert a tragedy.

Cops injured

In the stone-pelting, an ACP, 10 police constables and a DySP were injured.
There was also police firing at S K Factory where hundreds of people had gathered. When the slogan-shouting crowd did not heed the warning to disperse, the police fired in the air and the crowds moved away.

At Bommasandra, workers from non-garment factories in Attibele, Bannerghatta, Anekal, Hebbagodi and Jigani joined the protestors.

The crowds went on the rampage around Bommasandra main road. The police were hopelessly outnumbered, 700 of them dealing with nearly 25,000 protestors. With more forces arriving, normalcy was restored.

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